35th Anniversary year for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial begins with milestone for the virtual Wall of Faces
By Heidi Zimmerman, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is commemorating the 35th anniversary of The Wall in 2017 and the year began with a milestone for the virtual Wall of Faces effort with the 50,000th photo being submitted to the Wall of Faces this week.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in 1982 with a promise to never forget the 58,315 service members who sacrificed all in Vietnam and to honor all those who served in the Vietnam War. Nearly 5.6 million visit The Wall each year, making it one of the most-visited memorials in America. Visitors are struck by just how many names there are on The Wall but visitors without a personal connection to anyone on The Wall don’t always understand the lasting impact the Vietnam War has had on American families.
The Wall of Faces effort to collect a photo of each service member on The Wall began in 2009. It personalizes the individual sacrifice by displaying the faces of the more than 58,000 lives cut short and families changed forever by their loss. It allows for family members, friends and comrades to leave remembrances and stay connected to those they lost. The Wall of Faces further preserves the legacies of those on The Wall and educates current generations about the impact of the Vietnam era.
Said Chuck Hagel, 24th Secretary of Defense and Chairman, 35th Anniversary of The Wall Committee:
“When The Wall was dedicated, no one could have imagined the impact it would have 35 years later. As a Vietnam veteran, I look at The Wall with pride for serving my country and with respect for all those who served and especially those who sacrificed everything and didn’t make it home. It’s important that we never forget what they gave for their country. It’s important that we remember the names and the faces of each service member on The Wall. We ask for the public’s help in finding the remaining photos so that all of their faces can be remembered. It would be incredible to have all of the photos by the end of this 35th anniversary year.”
The 50,000th photo collected was of Bobby Joe Quinn of Morristown, Tennessee. The photo was submitted by VVA Chapter 1036 in Florida, a group of veterans that have been involved in photo collection efforts over the past year.
Said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF:
“We are so pleased to start this anniversary year with collecting our 50,000th photo for the Wall of Faces. We have dedicated volunteers across the country who have been looking for photos and we are so appreciative of their hard work. As we commemorate the 35th anniversary of The Wall this year, we’re asking all Americans to ‘keep the promise’ that was made 35 years ago to never forget the service and sacrifice of our Vietnam veterans.”
The Wall of Faces can be found online at www.vvmf.org/wall-of-faces. Search to see the photos, and the photos that are still needed.
From the anniversary of the groundbreaking in March to the anniversary of the dedication of The Wall in November, 35 years of healing at The Wall will be commemorated in 2017. To stay updated on 35th anniversary events and learn about ways that you can ‘keep the promise,’ visit www.vvmf.org.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is the nonprofit organization that founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, DC in 1982. VVMF continues to lead the way in paying tribute to our nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families. VVMF’s mission is to honor and preserve the legacy of service in America and educate all generations about the impact of the Vietnam War and era.
To learn more about VVMF, visit www.vvmf.org or call 202.393.0090.